Gary Honor - Atmospheric


Long time ago I reported about Smooth Jazz from Australia. It's more a coincidence that I came in contact with it again. I joined Warren Hill's Smooth Jazz Cruise 2005 starting from Ft. Lauderdale. Onboard I met a young sax player who was taking part in the contest "Star Search". He was distributing his album to some of the artists and I was curious enough to ask him for a copy. 

I have already made reviews about the Australian artists Noel Elmowy, Igor, Cathi Ogden, Andrew Oh and Albert Calvo. But there is still no "Australian Smooth Jazz" as a special identity. It's not easy for a musician to live by his job as musician, especially in Australia and as a smooth jazz sax player. Reading Gary's biography one can state that his way to a professional musician was a bit inconvenient.

Gary's debut album "Atmospheric" (2004) has some powerful tunes. Gary has composed and arranged all tracks on this record. Kickin' Back showcases Gary's energetic blow on tenor, alto and soprano saxophone, all in the mix. Gary also played in drum, bass and keyboard programming. Perfectly overdubbed and arranged there is nothing to complain. 

This impression is affirmed by the next tune The Voice Within featuring Jeremy O'Connor on bass. 

Lead instrument on Until Oneday Comes is the sax again. Gary is nicely improvising about the main melody by using the overdubb procedure. Personally I miss somehow a real drummer who brings in his personality.

South City Wailin' is a proof for my observation. With Steve Kemsley on live drums the tune sounds more vivid. A real drummer let the tune swing. Gary is also accompanied by organ and electro piano. Great jammin'.

Heaven Sent is a slow tune with a romantic mood. Peter Morgan's percussion refines the drum programming and Gary's string supported sax brings the song to emotional heights.

The Journey Home is a continuation of the previous tune. Slow and smooth. Put a further log into the fireplace and pour out a glass of wine.

On Breath Of Life Gary presents his skills on flute. Not bad! May be Hubert Laws is one of his models.

Your Mysterious Ways showcases that Gary is also familiar with more complex arrangements and music structures. I wouldn't deny a certain oriental influence.

Carlos Santana weaves his way through Calle Danza. Guitar and percussion are very similar. 

Daybreak is the New Age counterpart.

Atmospheric is a more uptempo song with tempo changes in the bridges. As usual the sax is lead instrument, this time the soprano sax.

The tempo is speeding up on the final piece All It Takes. Hip Hop music is obviously the major influence on Gary's drum programming. Gary is also using intensively overdubbing to layer his sax-melodies. 

Gary's new album Atmospheric can hold the standard in smooth jazz business. But it will not be easy to get a firm footing in the American market. There are too many sax players.



  • Bio


  • Gary's website


  • The Band:

    Gary Honor - Soprano, Alto and Tenor Saxophone, Flute, WX5, Drum, Bass and Keyboard Programming.

    Steve Kemsley - Live Drums on Calle Danza, Until Oneday Comes and South City Wailin.

    Chris Poulsen - Live Piano on Calle Danza

    Vince Lombardo - Acoustic and Electric Guitars

    Jeremy O'Connor - Acoustic and Electric Bass

    Peter Morgan - Live Congas, Bongos and Aux Percussion.

    Andrew Hansch - Trumpet on Calle Danza